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Better Living … Healthy You #11

Better Living Healthy You Issue #11 (Monthly Online Newsletter)

Your Sensory Organs

Written by Judy Fleming

Our senses, the eyes, the ears, and the skin allow us to see, hear and touch the world around us. They gather information from the outside world so that our brain can process this information and use it as we see fit to enhance our world. Our other organs, such as the brain and heart work so that we can live, as a matter of fact, if they are not working well we cannot live a healthy life. But our senses are responsible for the quality of enjoyment we have.

Sensory Organs

The Eye

Our eyes have over 2 million working parts and the ability to process about 36,000 bits of information every hour. They are always moving even as we sleep and about 80% of what our brain processes comes from what we see. So it is obvious the most active muscle in the body are the ones in our eyes! Our eyes are set close together at the front of our face to give us good depth perception. The eyes are made up of fluid to give them their shape and without this fluid they would collapse. Then there is fat behind the eyeball to help push it forward so we can see around us easily. The eye takes information from the outside and processes it through the brain. This information goes through the cornea (the clear covering) to the iris (the coloured part of the eye) that regulates the amount of light that will go through to the retina. The cornea and lens (which sits behind the iris) filters the light to form an upside-down picture of what you see on the back surface of the eye (the retina) and is then sent through the optic nerve to your brain so that you know what you are seeing. We have binocular vision that allows us to focus on what we are looking at.

The Ear

Our ears are not just for holing up our glasses or a receptacle for earrings. They allow our brains to help us make decisions on our actions as a result of what we hear. Many times what we hear can be comforting but loud noises can actually damage our ears and cause hearing problems as we grow older. The outer fleshy part of the ear acts as a funnel for sound directing it inward to the inner ear. Sound has to travel from the outer ear down the ear canal to your eardrum where it converts sound waves into mechanical vibrations that vibrate the 3 bones attached to your inner ear which is filled with fluid and nerves. A sloshing motion is produced in the inner ear moving tiny hair cells in the ear. The nerves then send signals to the brain. About 60% of people will lose some of their hearing abilities due to loud noises that have caused damage to the hairs inside the ear, or because there is too much wax making it harder to send the vibrations. The ear is one of our most sensitive organs so it is important to take care of the sound levels you are exposed to. Our ears can manage sounds under 90 decibels for short periods of time but the higher the decibels over longer periods of time will cause permanent hearing loss. Here is a list of some sounds and their decibel level: a whisper 15, normal conversation is 60, snoring 85, lawn mower 90, car horn 110, rock concert or jet engine 120, gunshot or firecracker 140.

The Skin

Our skin is just like the siding on the outside of our homes it comes in many different colours and protects our insides. On the average adult our skin covers over 17,000 square centimeters and is the body’s largest organ. Our skin has many functions:

  • It acts as a protective covering shielding us from infection as it helps us develop and heal.
  • Sends important signals to our brain – if we touch something hot it hurts so we know to move our skin away

Our skin has many layers: the outer layer which is dead is called the epidermis with no sensory fibers, the next layer is the dermis which has the sensory fibers so we feel heat or cold, under that is the subcutaneous tissue (such as hair follicles and glands) that makes solutions like sweat. Within our skin we have pain fibers that register pain as when we touch the stove. Our skin wrinkles as a result of being over exposed to the sun. It takes 30 years to see these wrinkles so most people who spent many hours in the sun when they were children or young adults will experience many wrinkles when they reach their 50’s. The wrinkle is related to the collagen fibers located below the dermis – these fibers are like rubber bands that get stretched out and cause scarring that forms wrinkles when they retract. What can we do to take care of our sensory organs? They are like all our other organs and will benefit from the following course of actions:

  • Protect your eyes and skin from over exposure to the sun or the reflection of the sun over water or snow
  • Turn down the radio and avoid loud noises over extended periods of time to protect your ears – using ear plugs when you are working in areas that have loud noises
  • Pay attention to pain, it is there to make sure you stop doing what caused the pain
  • Hydrate your body’s skin by eating plenty of raw vegetables & fruits as well as good vegetable juices, all the sensory organs need water from the inside
  • Make sure you have good lighting when you are reading or doing a hobby
  • Take 10 minute breaks every couple of hours if you work in front of a computer all day to give your eyes a rest
  • Recharge your body every day by getting 6-10 hours of sleep at the best time of the night from 9pm until sunrise
  • Eat a well balanced diet of raw vegetables, fruits, juices, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes – high nutrients will benefit all the sensory organs

green divider

Watermelon Tomato Soup

Watermleon Tomato Soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes Serving size: serves 3-4 people


  • watermelon
  • ginger
  • tomatoes
  • ginger

Method: Put the following into each soup bowl:

  • ¼ cup cubed watermelon (bite sized)

Put the following ingredients into your blender and blend on high:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes (diced)
  • 2-3 cups watermelon (cubed)
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger root

Pour this tomato/watermelon mixture into each soup bowl to cover the diced watermelon. Chill until ready to serve. This is best made the same day, not too far in advance.